clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Week That Will Be: Business Trip

Will the Horns trip to the Mountain State be as easy as the oddsmakers claim?

NCAA Football: West Virginia at Texas Bethany Hocker-USA TODAY Sports

Last Week: 1-5 ATS 5-1 SU

For the Year: 15-15 (.500) (-$150) ATS 18-12 (.600) SU

Quick Thoughts From Last Week:

DOWN GOES CLEMSON…almost: The defending national champions were a better play call from North Carolina from seeing their playoff hopes go up in a whoosh of tobacco smoke (remember Ohio State’s loss to Purdue keeping them out of the playoff last year), but alas it wasn’t meant to be. Mack Brown absolutely made the right decision, but once again an offensive coordinator thinks a speed option to the short side of the field against a fast defense is a genius call. The Tigers might have further issues down the line if Trevor Lawrence doesn’t kick it into gear, his 18/30 206 yards and 1 touchdown continues a string of solid but not spectacular play from the sophomore this season.

Cinderella Loses a Shoe, Proceeds to Trip Over It: USC quarterback Matt Fink went from hero the week prior to goat last week as his 19 completions only went for 163 yards. Even worse, he was picked off three times, including twice in the red zone. The Huskies threw for less than 200 yards themselves but Salvon Ahmed’s 89-yard touchdown run kept the Trojans at bay. Up next for USC is Notre Dame in South Bend in two weeks as the Clay Helton Farewell Tour continues, while Washington has a very favorable schedule the rest of the season, getting Oregon, Utah and Washington State in Seattle. Their toughest road game? Colorado.

Nebraska Still Not Good at Football: The Cornhuskers spent all of their energy at ESPN’s College Gameday, as the defense allowed 370 rushing yards by the Buckeyes and the offense went three and out four times and threw three interceptions in the first half. Nebraska is now tied with Kansas, Maryland and Rutgers with the most 40-point losses by Power Five teams since 2017 with four.

Chuba Chuba Choo Choo: So far Texas is the only team that has been able to contain Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard, as the redshirt sophomore rushed for 296 yards in the Cowboys’ win over Kansas State. It’s his third 200-yard game of the young season. Hubbard might already be the best Canadian-born running back of all-time. Discuss below.

Baylor Nearly Blows 20-Point Lead, Gives Coach Extension: You have to wonder if Baylor would have still announced the extension for coach Matt Rhule if the Bears had blown that 20-point lead they took to the fourth quarter on Saturday, instead John Mayers, in only his second collegiate field goal attempt, made a 38-yard effort to lift Baylor over Iowa State. His only other attempt was a badly missed also 38-yarder earlier in the game.

Oklahoma Secretly Replaces QB, Still Throws for 450: You do wonder what would happen if college football was like old coffee television commercials, but it was Jalen Hurts out there destroying Texas Tech on Saturday. Hurts has now thrown at least three touchdown passes in each game this season. More importantly for the Sooners is the fact that the early results on this new defense look promising, as the Sooners have yet to allow a first quarter point this year and held Texas Tech to 1 of 14 on third down conversions. The schedule gets tougher for Oklahoma, however, as they must travel to oh…Kansas this week.

Our long, regional nightmare is over – the bye week has come and gone.

As you can see above, it was even a bye week for my prognostication skills.

If you are like me, Saturdays without the Horns feel a bit empty, although it is nice to be able to watch football games and not require a few stiff drinks or a stress ball to quell the anxiety, but isn’t that partially the reason we watch in the first place?

If we are to divide this 2019 season into thirds, the Longhorns are set to embark on the second third of this season Saturday afternoon in Morgantown, a place that has not been kind to opponents over the recent past.

This is the most important third of the season, if only because it should be the most difficult. Next week is the “unbeatable” Sooners in Dallas, then okay you get Kansas, but the week after that the Horns must travel to face TCU in Fort Worth for what is always a physical battle – and they must do it with your neighbor Steve playing cornerback.

And after that stretch? Another bye week.

Go 4-0 in this stretch and we can start talking playoff. Go 3-1 and you’re still in the Big 12 Championship Game mix. Go 2-2 and there will be serious questions about the progress made this season and the last third will be spent in desperation mode.

But this is why you invest heavily in strength and conditioning and in support staff – to ensure that bye weeks are spent refreshing the squad and maximizing the time off – not for kicking up your heels and watching football like we do.

You might remember the bitterness at the end of the game last November, when West Virginia single handily tried to start a rivalry with Texas (then promptly lost two of three to allow Texas into the Big 12 Championship was awesome). I guarantee you that Sam Ehlinger remembers.

Regardless of all that nonsense, the best way to exact “revenge” is to come out and leave no doubt on Saturday. A contending squad comes out and hammers an inferior opponent at home and on the road – take care of business, cover and get out of town.

And then on to Dallas.

Iowa @ Michigan -3.5:

Last Saturday Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson accounted for four touchdowns in a 52-0 rout of Rutgers, a week after the drubbing the Wolverines suffered at the hands of Wisconsin. Of course, Michigan could win every game between now and Thanksgiving 52-0 and we wouldn’t be impressed (well perhaps the Notre Dame or Penn State game would raise an eyebrow), because it’s all about the next big game for the Wolverines.

This week it is the undefeated Iowa Hawkeyes coming to Ann Arbor. The Wolverines are 41-15-4 all-time against Iowa, however the Hawkeyes have won two straight and five of the last six. Something has to break, however, as Michigan has won 10 in a row at the Big House.

If you have been in a coma for a number of years, fear not, because you didn’t miss anything when it comes to Iowa football. They still play great defense (only giving up 8.5 points per game on the season), don’t beat themselves (second in the country in fewest penalties, only one (!) turnover this season), and rolled up 644 yards last week. Wait, what? That yardage in their rout over Middle Tennessee State was the most racked up in the Kirk Ferentz era.

If there is one flaw with these Hawkeyes, however, it is that they are dead last in the country in tackles for loss (Michigan is 127th so don’t expect a lot of negative yardage plays on Saturday). Iowa State was able to throw for 327 yards against Iowa, they just weren’t able to finish off drives. Patterson can do some damage here.

The Hawkeyes are built a lot like, oh I can’t quite put my finger on it, oh yes, WISCONSIN, so if the Wolverines aren’t careful, this could be a bad case of déjà vu, but something tells me they come out and take care of business.

Michigan 27 Iowa 21

ATS – Michigan

SU – Michigan

Auburn -3 @ Florida:

Auburn is 5-0 for only the second time in the Gus Malzahn era, but the road gets even tougher, literally, as the Tigers don’t play another home game until November, with this Top 10 matchup this week and a trip to LSU also on the docket this month. If that isn’t bad enough, Georgia and Alabama are among those awaiting them when they return home next month.

Ron Zook was the last Florida head coach to defeat Auburn, as the Tigers have won three in a row in this series. Of course this is the SEC with their weird scheduling quirks, so these teams also haven’t met since 2011.

Auburn rolled up 578 yards in their drubbing of Mississippi State last week as true freshman quarterback Bo Nix had his best game of the year, throwing for 335 yards and two touchdowns while adding another touchdown on the ground. The Tigers do their best damage on the ground, however, as they’re averaging 5.3 yards per carry on the season and have punched it into the endzone 17 times on the ground.

The Gators are riding a nine-game winning streak, even if it hasn’t always been pretty. Only one team has scored more than 21 points in that streak, oddly enough Will Muschamp’s anemic South Carolina squad. However the Tigers have quite the defense as well and they’ll face backup quarterback Kyle Trask in this one, who has been solid (77.3% completion rate, 5 to 2 TD/INT ratio) but certainly not great.

Florida has quite the schedule themselves from here on out (with two FCS opponents on the schedule already it has nowhere to go but up), with this one, at LSU and the neutral site game against Georgia in the next four games. I think they get this one in a nail-biter.

Florida 27 Auburn 24

ATS – Florida

SU – Florida

TCU @ Iowa State -3:

It is hard to read the pulse of either of these teams at the moment.

TCU went into Purdue and completely dominated that ballgame (although with Purdue now sitting at 1-3 with a loss to lowly Nevada perhaps that wasn’t very impressive), then was run over by SMU at home and then completely shell shocked an improved Kansas squad last week in Fort Worth.

The Cylcones, meanwhile, slept walked through their first game against Northern Iowa, put together a disjointed effort against Iowa in a game they could have easily won, blasted Louisiana Monroe and then was down 20-0 last week before rallying and then still losing.

Insert shrug emoji here.

Iowa State 24 TCU 20

ATS – Iowa State

SU – Iowa State

Oklahoma State -10 @ Texas Tech:

In one of the most inexplicable Big 12 games of the 2018 season, Texas Tech went into Stillwater last September and blasted Oklahoma State 41-17 in a game where the Cowboys were shut out in the second half.

That one is a distant memory for Red Raiders fans however, as they are now 2-7 in their last 9 games after their loss in Norman last weekend. They haven’t beaten a non-Kansas Power 5 team in nearly a full calendar year, their last coming last October 11th against TCU.

Quarterback Alan Bowman is out for quite some time, and Jett Duffey looked like he had taken a step back in the Matt Wells offense last week, while Jackson Tyner just looked lost.

Oklahoma State had won 9 in a row against Tech before last season’s defeat. I think they start a new one here in the midst of what could be a long year in Lubbock.

Oklahoma State 45 Texas Tech 27

ATS – Oklahoma State

SU – Oklahoma State

Baylor @ Kansas State -1.5:

It has been three years since Baylor has defeated a Big 12 opponent not named Kansas on the road, October 1, 2016, a 45-42 victory over an Iowa State team that finished 3-9.

Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer has passed for 300 yards in two straight games and has yet to throw an interception this season in 119 attempts. He has tossed in 10 touchdown passes for good measure.

Kansas State head coach Chris Klieman suffered his first loss since November of 2017 last weekend in Stillwater, and for all the good that the Wildcats have achieved early this season, you have to wonder if their offense is explosive enough for this conference.

Quarterback Skylar Thompson completed less than half of his 23 attempts last week and averaged a dreadful 5.1 yards per attempt. The Kansas State running game didn’t chip in, either, as they only averaged 3.9 yards per attempt and fumbled once.

That just won’t cut it in the Big 12.

Baylor 24 Kansas State 21

ATS – Baylor

SU – Baylor

Texas -11 @ West Virginia:

The Longhorns take the country roads to Morgantown, West Virginia this week for a tilt with the 3-1 West Virginia Mountaineers.

Neal Brown is the new coach at West Virginia after the strange exit of Dana Holgorsen. Brown was the former offensive coordinator at Texas Tech under Tommy Tuberville and then Kentucky before getting his first head coaching job at Troy. Under his tutelage, Troy won 31 games his last three years there and won three bowl games, but their biggest win was their 2017 win at LSU.

The first third of the season has been up and down for the Mountaineers, who struggled in the first week against FCS James Madison (only winning by a touchdown), was walloped by Missouri in Columbia 38-7, pulled off a somewhat impressive win against N.C. State at home 44-27, and then went to Lawrence and defeated the Jayhawks by 5, which looked solid until Kansas was murdered in Fort Worth last week.

The Missouri loss was particularly distressing because the Mountaineers only allowed Kelly Bryant to throw for 150 yards but lost by 31 points because he actually outgained their quarterback, Oklahoma transfer Austin Kendall, who finished with 137 yards. West Virginia threw three interceptions on the day, which helped overcome the 10 penalties that the Tigers committed on the day.

Kendall also struggled against Kansas, averaging only 5.5 yards per attempt. This isn’t the explosive West Virginia offense of yesteryear.

Kennedy McCoy is their featured back, but he’s also second on the team in receptions, so you have to be aware of him coming out of the backfield at all times. McCoy has rushed for more than 1,800 yards at West Virginia, but has struggled to get it going this year behind a patchwork offensive line.

They’re also not very good on special teams, ranking 101st in the country in S&P+ in that category.

The Mountaineers lost 59-56 to Oklahoma in Morgantown last November, but outside of that their last defeat at home was the Will Grier broken finger game against Texas in 2017. 2014 was the last time they lost at home to anybody but Oklahoma State, Oklahoma or Texas, so they’re tough at home, but not this year – this one should be a comfortable win for the Horns.

Texas 38 West Virginia 21

ATS – Texas

SU – Texas

For entertainment purposes only. Save your money for moonshine.